The Environment Says: The Woods Are Lovely When They’re Dark and Deep

If one looks at the woods behind North Street at night, their most striking feature is that they are dark. Very dark. According to The New Yorker, many creatures like it that way.

From “The Dark Side”, 8/20/07

Deer…have excellent nighttime vision but appear extremely vulnerable to temporary blinding by bright light…

Although nighttime lighting has seldom been a priority of environmentalists–one of whom described it to me recently as a “soft” issue–bad or unnecessary lighting not only wastes billions of dollars’ worth of energy every year but also can wreak havoc on ecosystems… Artificial light can be especially lethal to insects. Gerhard Eisenbeis, a German entomologist, has written that outdoor lighting can have a “vacuum cleaner” effect on local insect populations, causing large numbers to be “sucked out of habitat.” An earlier German study showed that new, brightly lit gas stations initially attracted large numbers of insects, but that the numbers fell rapidly after two years, presumably because local populations were decimated. One of the several ways in which light fixtures kill insects is by causing them to rest on the ground or in vegetation, where they become easy prey…

See also:

The Importance of Insects
Insects perform a vast number of important functions in our ecosystem. They aerate the soil, pollinate blossoms, and control insect and plant pests; they also decompose dead materials, thereby reintroducing nutrients into the soil. Burrowing bugs such as ants and beetles dig tunnels that provide channels for water, benefiting plants. Bees play a major role in pollinating fruit trees and flower blossoms. Gardeners love the big-eyed bug and praying mantis because they control the size of certain insect populations, such as aphids and caterpillars, which feed on new plant growth. Finally, all insects fertilize the soil with the nutrients from their droppings…

Many insects are herbivores, or plant-eaters, which makes them primary consumers. This abundance of primary consumers provides protein and energy for secondary consumers, known as carnivores. There are many secondary consumers, such as spiders, snakes, and toads that could not survive without feeding on insects. Tertiary consumers eat other carnivores; for example, bears and chimpanzees eat insects as well as other animals.

Benefits of Urban Wetlands and Their Buffer Areas

Wetland Values

Photo Essay: The Forest Behind View Avenue

Poem: “We Have Faith”